Thursday, December 30, 2010

Big Announcement

I'm finally letting the cat out of the bag!  It's been a long time in coming and it is such a relief to finally be able to share this news.  At this point I believe we have shared this news with all those who are close to us, either in person, through the letter in our Christmas cards that went out early this week, and also through Facebook.  So now it is time to share here.

The big news??  We're expecting again!!  We found out in mid-October but decided that we wanted to wait and see how things went before we shared the news widely.  Then we learned more.  We're having twins!!

My high risk category just went up again.

Turns out we have identical twins.  They share a placenta but thankfully are in separate sacs.  The variations on twins are way more complicated than I ever imagined.  Not that I ever gave it much thought.  The idea that I may one day have twins has probably never entered my mind!

Thankfully, the pregnancy is going smoothly.  I'm nervous going into every appointment (understandably) but so far we've received nothing but good news on the progress of these two babies.  I'm currently at 15 weeks.  I'm being watched carefully with ultrasounds every two weeks and appointments with my regular OB also every two weeks starting after my next appointment (which is about 3 weeks away currently).

I'll post more later about how things have gone so far. I did keep a written journal for a little while from about the time we found out until just after Thanksgiving.  So I may post a few select entries from that to give you a flavor of how things have been so far.

In the meantime, here are two pictures from today's ultrasound.  Enjoy!!
Baby A profile at 15 weeks

Baby B profile (and waving hi) at 15 weeks
One last thing, I am giving all the credit to our Blessed Mother for how well things have gone so far.  I have been asking for her prayers and intercession constantly (although it may be better described as begging). Sleep is already becoming difficult, so I spend much of my time lying in bed praying the Hail Mary.  I appreciate all prayers you may be willing to offer up for us as we make it through the next several weeks.  Pre-term labor is one of my biggest fears right now (in addition to a few other possible issues that could come up).  Thank you!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today's Innocents

Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, a day that I have taken note of more in just the last few years.  On this day we commemorate the death of the innocent young boys killed by Herod's army in his attempt to find and destroy the newborn king he had been told of by the Magi (Matthew 2: 16-18).  We consider these innocents the first martyrs for Christ.  And so, on this day, we remember these innocent children.

On a feast day like this I can't help but also remember how many other children have lost their lives.  It might seem natural that I may be thinking of my own children, but actually I'm not.  I'm thinking more about the many, many children who have lost their lives through the abominable act of abortion.  At this time, probably close to 50 million children.  50 million!!

These are the innocents of our own time.  Not that abortion is new, but that 50 million is just the number of children killed in the United States since 1973 and only from those states reporting numbers.  So really, that number could be (and most definitely is) a lot larger.

Today I happened to be in the car during part of a broadcast of today's mass at the local Newman Center.  We got in the car just at the end of the Gospel reading and then listened to the priest's homily.  He spoke about the Innocents of Bethlehem and then about abortion.  He mentioned that about one in every three pregnancies ends in abortion.  This is just sad! 

What really struck me, however, was when he mentioned that for every 1000 abortions in a year, there are 17 adoptions. Only 17!!  I know so many people who want to adopt children, several who are on waiting lists and have been waiting for a long time.  Many people, after investigating their adoption options, will opt for international adoption because of how complicated adoption is domestically.

Not only is it complicated, but there seemingly aren't that many children available for adoption.  Otherwise, why would couples have to wait 12, 18 or even 24 months to receive a match.  And that wait doesn't include the long paper work process.  Seems to me that we could have a lot less abortions if we educated people on the wonderful benefits of adoption.

And adoption means less killing of innocent children.  These are innocent children, there is no way to sugar-coat it.  The small, innocent boys of Bethlehem lost their lives around the time of Jesus birth.  They were mourned by their mothers and families, no doubt.  Those who have gone through the pain of abortion often also mourn the loss of their children, as is evident in the Silent No More Campaign

We should all mourn the loss of today's innocents.  These children who would now be in their middle-30s and younger.  Children of my generation that we never knew.  These children could be scientists, lawyers, doctors, teachers, construction workers, mothers, fathers, friends, and neighbors.  These are the innocents of our generation.  Wouldn't it be nice if our children could live in a world where abortion was non-existant?

God Bless the innocents who lost their lives over 2000 years ago and the many innocents who lose their lives each day to the evils of abortion.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Quick Takes Friday, vol. 12

Today is the beginning of a two-week break from work for me! No vacation time required; it’s all holiday and bonus days given to us by the University. So excited!! Here are seven things I plan on doing during my vacation.


Christmas Shopping. First and foremost, the Christmas shopping has to get done and a few packages have to be mailed off to people who don’t live close (two nieces, a godson, a “secret saint” gift). I’m looking forward to going shopping in the morning when the stores open instead of fighting crowds after work or on weekends. Yay!!


Daily Mass and maybe Reconciliation. Daily Mass is something I used to do before I got married and I lived closer to our church. Now, I just can’t get there and trying to go to the noon mass on campus just hasn’t worked out for me. I am planning on attending the evening mass this coming Monday and I hope to attend a few more. How nice it’ll be to go to daily Mass and not be thinking about anything else! And as for Reconciliation, well, it’s just been a while. I find it hard to get to unless I’m not working. So I should probably take advantage of the fact that I’m not working this week and go.


Put away the wedding dress. Yes, I’ve been married for over three years now and the wedding dress is taking up mucho space in one of our few closets. Storage space in our house is at a premium!! So next week, I plan on finally taking it to a bridal shop for them to send out to be dry-cleaned and preserved. It’ll be nice to have it in a more manageable box.


Clean the house!! Oh man, does my house need it. After working all day, doing errands on weekends, and trying to keep some semblance of a social life, I am just too tired to clean the house. One day I will ask for a maid to come in once a year to clean things like blinds and other hard to clean things, but for now, I really just need to get the basics done: bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming.  I want to feel like things are somewhat fresh, even if just for a short time. I think the maid idea would make a great Mother’s Day gift. I’m only asking for it once a year.


Attend a Baptism. One of my friends had a baby in November and the Baptism is the Monday after Christmas. For once I am really looking forward to attending a Baptism. Baptisms can be so hard (along with baby showers and other baby things). But this friend has been through so much to get pregnant. Three years of struggles until she finally started seeing a NaPro Tech doctor and finally got pregnant. So happy for her and her husband!! I am finding myself most excited about babies that come after much waiting and praying. So this Baptism will be very special. (Not only that, but she has been so supportive during my losses as well, attending Zachary’s funeral and Brigit’s burial service, and having lunch with me on Zachary’s due date. She’s been an awesome friend!)


Christmas cards. I haven’t done these yet, but I’m not worried about it. Christmas starts on Dec. 25, so who says I need to get them out during Advent? I’ll be working on them during this next week and I plan on putting them in the mail just as the Christmas season begins. I see people on Facebook stressing out over not having their Christmas cards done yet. Why? Christmas hasn’t even begun; we have all the way through mid-January!


Read!! Oh there are so many things I need to read!! I have stacks of Catholic magazines, newsletters from religious communities and other Catholic organizations, our local Catholic newspaper, and tons of books. True, I won’t get through all of it in the next two weeks, but I’d love to make a dent in it. I’d love to clear out most of the old newspapers and magazines, read one book, and catch up on all the blogs I read. I’m also interested in adding a few things to my own blog, but that’s low on the priority list at this point.

Merry Christmas to all!! I hope it is a blessed Christmas for everyone!!

For more Quick Takes check out the Quick Takes Post at Jen Fulwiler's blog where there are always lots of links to many great blogs.  Thanks to Jen for her wonderful Quick Takes hosting!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Living Typical Day, Thinking of the Alternative

Today was a typical day in my life, a fairly typical Monday.  I had my adoration hour, went to work, came home, had dinner with my husband (leftovers, nothing exciting there either), and we spent our evening decorating the Christmas tree, watching a little TV, and basically just hanging out.  Yes, it is cold, it snowed, the schools were out and the university was on a two-hour delay.  But none of this is really that out of the ordinary for our lives.  It is December, after all.

So what is the alternative?  Why would I be thinking of something else today? 

Easter weekend this year I knew there was a very good possibility that I was pregnant.  I had been disappointed the cycle before so I had resisted calculating the potential due date until after I had taken a test.  On that Monday I took the test and got a positive!!  I was so excited!!  And then I got an email from a friend telling me she was pregnant after several years of infertility struggles!  It was such a great day!

As any woman who has ever been pregnant can tell you, the next step is knowing when that due date is.  Your life for the next several months revolves around that date and you can't even imagine what life will look like after that date.  My date?  It was December 13, 2010, exactly one month after my friend's due date.

Yep, today is my due date.  How I wish I was sitting here nine months pregnant or holding a baby or sitting in a hospital right now.  But alas, my baby didn't make it.  It is sad just how many children don't make.  Life is precious, and that has been emphasized for me in so many ways the past three years.

So today ... it was a normal day, but also a bit surreal.  I did what I do most days.  Yet in some ways I knew that things could have been very different.  Yep, surreal.  But I still have my faith and I trust that God knows what He is doing.  I certainly have no control, that is obvious.

I have anticipated this date for a long time.  Even after the loss of the baby I thought about what this date would bring.  Would I be sad?  Would I remember?  Would it be on my mind all day?  All I can say is that the thought was there, but I got through the day without a hitch.

If you know someone who has gone through a pregnancy loss, I'm here to tell you that they will never forget their due date.  I remember all three of mine.  And each year as they pass I think about what "could have been."  It may sound sad, but at the same time it's a good thing.  I'm glad to have these moments when I can think about my children.  I would hate for these children of mine to fade away from my memory.  I cherish these times when I can remember that I once eagerly expected the birth of this particular child.  So should a friend share something like this with you, don't downplay the date, that just causes more pain.

The child we lost in May of this year was a girl.  I wrote about the whole miscarriage experience on this blog this summer.  She died at 9 weeks (around May 10), we found out at 10 weeks, and the D&C was at 11 weeks.  She died due to a chromosome anomaly called Trisomy 16.  And, most importantly, her name is Brigit Ann.

So today, I remember Brigit Ann and what could have been, if only things been different.  I imagine her in Heaven with her siblings Casey and Zachary, being watched over by the Blessed Mother, and participating in the constant worship of our Heavenly Father with all the saints.  I wish we could have had more time with Brigit.  Instead, I can just say how much I love the little girl that I never saw and never got to hold.  And I ask you, little Brigit, to pray for us.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Opening up about Miscarriage

Miscarriage is often a silent suffering.  So many women keep it to themselves.  Whether this is because they don't want to make others feel uncomfortable, are afraid of what someone might say, or don't want to sound negative, I don't know.  Unfortunately, because of the perceived taboo on discussing this subject in our culture, women, and men too, often suffer in silence.

I don't know why, but when I had my first miscarriage it never occurred to me to keep it silent.  As a matter of fact, we had not yet told anyone we were expecting so I could have avoided telling anyone anything at all if I had wanted.  But I chose not to.  And like I said, I really don't know why.  So we told our families and then our friends and then co-workers and others.  We held a memorial mass and we named the baby. 

But what surprised me the most was how many people told me that they too had had a miscarriage!  Some of these women I had known for several years.  None of them had ever spoken about it before.  That is, until they heard about mine, then they opened up to me.  It got me thinking about how important having support during tragedy really is.  And here were these friends of mine who I was never able to offer support to because I never knew of their suffering.

I also recognize that every individual is different and will handle situations differently than others.  Miscarriage is a very sensitive topic and some women prefer to keep it between themselves and their husbands.  That is fine.  But I do think there is a benefit to having some sort of support, whether through an anonymous online forum, a close friend or group of friends who have also "been there," or through a spiritual advisor or something along those lines.  The grief of losing a baby is very like the grief of losing any member of your family.  It doesn't matter how long or short that life was.

So I feel for those who suffer in silence and don't seek out support.  I hope that my openness through my three losses will help others to see that it's not so scary to talk about it.  Or at least, if they know me, would come to me for a listening ear and the empathy that only someone who has suffered the same thing can understand.  Although, I don't write about it as often as I thought I would, this topic has also become one of the reasons I continue to maintain this blog.

I was inspired to write this post after someone I know posted a link on Facebook regarding Lisa Ling talking about her recent miscarriage on the TV program "The View."  I don't watch this show, not just because I work during the day (and don't own a DVR), but also because I don't normally agree with the points of view of the women on this show and I can't handle the bickering I often see in clips that are shown at other times.  Regardless of my personal opinion, I was glad to see this topic come up.  Here is a short article about Ling's appearance as well as just a 1 minute clip of the beginning of the discussion.  I wish I knew how the rest of the conversation went and if the show's hosts asked appropriate and sensitive questions or not.  But Ling's words in this clip are so very true!!

Miscarriage is definitely a shock to anyone.  And it's a tragedy.  It's too bad that we live in a culture that treats death as a taboo topic, to the point that we can't openly grieve for the lives who were lost before birth.  It's a real pain that those of us who have gone through it will always carry with us.  It doesn't matter how many living children we have or how long it has been since the loss, the pain will always be with us.  We don't get over it, but we do learn to live with it.  I wish we could also learn to live with it in such a way that we can share it with others and celebrate those lives that we enjoyed no matter for how short a time.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday on Saturday, Vol. 11

Better late than never!  And since I've also missed the last few weeks, I figured it was better to go ahead and do a Quick Takes post a day late than not at all.  So here we go ...


Happy Advent!!  We started Advent last Sunday while the rest of the world started celebrating Christmas about a month ago.  This is one of my favorite aspects of the Church.  We don't rush into anything!  That's so true for so many things in the Church, isn't it?  We're a very deliberate group of people.  Before Christmas, we get four weeks of preparation.  Four weeks to reflect on the hope of the second coming, the joy of the first coming, and so much more.  THEN, and only then, do we get to Christmas.  And Christmas isn't just one day!!  I love it!  But for now, I just want to wish everyone a good Advent.  May it be a wonderful time for you and your families to properly prepare for the arrival of the newborn King!!


We got good news at work this week.  Not just good ... surprising news!!  For those who may not know, I work at a large research university.  Normally we get four bonus days off between Christmas and New Years, plus a day for Christmas and a day for New Years Day.  That's 6 total.  This week the president announced three additional bonus days!  How cool is that!  So now I will be off from Tuesday Dec. 21 until Sunday January 2, returning to work on Monday January 3.  I also have a floating holiday.  I'm thinking I may use it on Monday Dec. 20, why only work one day that week?  Two whole weeks off.  And that means online two more weeks of work left!!  I can't wait!  (The benefit to the university: millions of dollars in savings in utility bills!  I may have not had a raise in three years, but at least they aren't cutting our pay, imposing furloughs, or doing major lay offs.  I'll take what I can get!)


We finally have to get new phones.  Hubby and I have flip-style phones that we have had for over three years now.  The screen on the outside of Hubby's phone went out a while ago and recently the inside screen on my phone started blinking when I was using it and now goes out on occasion (more and more so).  I open my phone and get only a blue screen.  Not good.  I could still make a call if I had the number memorized, but who memorizes phone numbers anymore!!  That's why I have a cell phone!  So we're finally breaking down and getting new phones.  I kind of wanted a smartphone so I could have Internet and email anywhere I wanted, but we decided not to make that leap yet.  So we're getting a package that includes text messaging, which will be new for us.  I'll still have my iPod Touch for email, Facebook, Internet, and other things (when I'm somewhere that has wireless capabilities).  And, we'll be paying less!!  We'll be switching companies and getting a good deal by buying online, plus getting a discount through my employer!  Hubby is most happy about this.


How many remotes do you have for your TV?  Don't include the remotes for other accessory items (DVD players, etc.).  Just to operate your TV, what do you need?  We need three remotes now!  Three!!  Yes, it's crazy, especially when you consider that two of those remotes are universal remotes.  Apparently not all universal remotes are really universal.  We have one to turn the TV on, one to turn on the volume (volume comes through a Bose player that's connected to the TV, not really an accessory since we wouldn't hear anything without it in this set-up), and then a third to change the channels.  We used to have two: the one for the volume and the second for everything to do with the TV.  Then we had to get a special box from our cable company for something (HD signals or whatever) and it came with a universal remote.  For some reason we can't get that remote to turn the TV on and off.  Thus we use three now.  Geesh!


Winter has arrived in Kentucky.  We started getting snow this week.  Not a lot, but enough to make the roads slightly slick.  None of it lasted long.  That is until today.  I would guess that we have about two inches of snow on the ground now and it's still coming down.  Doesn't look like it'll be stopping anytime soon.  So I'm changing my plans for today and staying inside.  In my immediate future I see hot chocolate, watching the SEC championship game (Go Gamecocks!), doing some knitting, and maybe I'll take a shower at some point.


I got a haircut on Friday evening.  No, I won't be posting pictures because I haven't done anything different.  It's just shorter and looks pretty much like it did about 9 weeks ago when I last got it cut.  But I'm so glad to have it shorter again!!  It was feeling really long, a sure sign that's it's time.  Feels so good!


I saw this posted on Facebook this week.  It was so cute I thought I'd share it here.  Those of you with beautiful, large families will especially appreciate this.  Enjoy!!

Check out more Quick Takes at Jennifer Fulwiler's post at Conversion Diary where you'll find her Quick Takes vol. 107 and links to over 80 more!!  Thanks Jen for hosting!!  Happy Reading!